illustration of Silver Streak copyright Jim SterankoIn the debut episode in 1940 (Silver Streak Comics #3, written and drawn by Joe Simon), a swami who builds racing cars as a hobby finds that every time he enters his best machine, called the Silver Streak, in competitions, its driver is slain by a giant insect. Determined to get to the bottom of this, and finally having difficulty recruiting drivers, the mystic resorts to hypnotising a young clean-cut taxicab driver into racing for him. This time, when the driver is slain by a giant fly, the swami resurrects him, puts him behind the wheel of the super-fast racing car, and sends the avenging Silver Streak out to learn the secret of the monster bugs.
At this point, Jack Cole (as Ralph Johns) takes over, and the Silver Streak becomes better prepared by being converted into a costumed hero with a purple, green and orange bodysuit and given an injection of a "secret fluid ... which gives him the power to overcome the law of gravity and travel through the air at tremendous speeds." He ferrets out the mad scientist Dr. Katan behind the giant insects and spiders who'd been menacing the metropolis. The strip became a light adventure feature as he continues fighting crime aided by the falcon Whiz, who is "the fastest bird alive" due to an injection of the superhero's blood. He helped stem spy activities on the west coast, was involved in a race with aviator Sir Cedric Baldwin for the title of 'fastest man on earth', and assisted Daredevil against the Claw.
Cole explicitly stated Silver Streak's motivations in an address to the reader in issue 5:
"There are some things you ought to know about Silver Streak, the real Silver Streak as I know him and draw him. Do not think of him only as a most unusual man, a man endowed with the speed of lightning -- think too, of his great character -- the motive behind his amazing actions!
"Could Silver Streak ever be real? To me he is real! Yes, as real as the ideals you and I dream of.
"His purpose in life is to help others -- to help those in need. Silver Streak does his best to make this world an ideal place to live in -- a world in which you and I will have the things we most desire.
"And he is out to get those forces that stand in the way of his ideals. He fights hard!! He is strong because he is right -- he is fast because he needs speed to conquer his enemies!
"Silver Streak is my hero, and I hope he is your hero, too, for he does the things that you and I would do if we had his powers!"
For the last few installments the strip was drawn by Don Rico, also known for his work on Daredevil and Captain America. Shortly before the characters' last appearence in issue 19, a cape and domino mask were added to the Silver Streak's uniform. Silver Streak Comics lasted until #21; with the following issue 22 it converted into Crime Does Not Pay